About 1,440 people expected to cross S'pore-Johor border in first week of VTL: Menteri Besar says on Sunday

People leaving Woodlands Checkpoint in 2020. Singapore and Malaysia have not confirmed when the land border will reopen. PHOTO: ST FILE

JOHOR BARU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The land Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) between Johor and Singapore which is set to open on Nov 29 will benefit some 1,440 travellers in its first week of implementation, Johor Menteri Besar Hasni Mohammad said on Sunday (Nov 21).

He said the state government was prepared for the land VTL and was looking forward to the implementation of the land VTL.

"Based on our capacity and early preparation for the land VTL, we expect to see the movement of some 1,440 people in the first week of its implementation," he said. It is believed he was referring to the daily number of travellers in the first week.

"Whether those using the land VTL will have to use public transportation or are allowed to use private vehicles, that is still being discussed. Either way, in Johor, we are prepared," he added.

Mr Hasni said this in his response to questions from several representatives on the status of the reopening of the border between Johor and Singapore at the state assembly seating on Sunday.

Malaysian media had reported that the border between Singapore and Johor was set to reopen on Nov 29, although this has not been confirmed by the Republic and the Malaysian federal government.

On Saturday, Singapore's Covid-19 multi-ministry task force said the Singapore-Malaysia land border could open by the end of November to allow those separated from their loved ones due to the pandemic to reunite.

The countries are in talks to open a VTL for vaccinated travellers, prioritising families that have been long separated since the start of Covid-19.

More than 100,000 Malaysians are estimated to be stuck in Singapore since the borders were closed, and are hoping to be reunited with families back home.

Mr Hasni said that the number of people allowed to use the land VTL on a weekly basis would increase gradually based on the success of the initial implementation of the travel lane.

"We will look at the success and smoothness of the initial execution of the land VTL before increasing the capacity," he said

"We expect to be able to increase it to 2,500 and later to 5,000 a week," added Mr Hasni, saying that a pilot test on the land VTL between Johor and Singapore would be conducted on Monday.

On the category of people who could benefit from the land VTL, Mr Hasni said the state government is urging the federal government to allow the same category of travellers as in the air VTL between Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and Changi Airport to be allowed to travel via the land VTL.

"Both the air and land VTL are expected to take effect on the same date, which is on Nov 29 and we hope that there would not be any changes to the date," he said.

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